Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Under the Mesquite (YA)

 Under the Mesquite. Guadalupe Garcia McCall. 2011. Lee & Low. 225 pages.

I am standing just inside
the doorway, watching Mami talk
to the television screen.
As the latest episode
of her favorite telenovela unfolds,
the soap opera drawing her in,
the skins from the potatoes
she is peeling
drop into her apron
like old maple leaves...

Lupita is the heroine of Guadalupe Garcia McCall's verse novel Under the Mesquite. It's an emotional coming of age story. Lupita struggles with the ordinary things of growing up, it's true, but she does it all the while watching her mother die of cancer. She does it while trying to be both mother and father to her younger sisters and brothers. She becomes an adult all too soon as she tries to cope with the devastating news--the diagnosis, the treatment, and the cure that just didn't last long enough. Where does she find the strength to face the day? How does she hold it all together? How does she keep things together enough with her family? Well, it's a mystery to her too. But taking those drama classes sure does seem to be helping. And her coach wonders why she can cry on demand...

If you're looking for an emotional 'cancer' book that is more than just a cancer book, then Under the Mesquite may be just what you're looking for.

Read Under the Mesquite
  • If you're looking for a good multicultural read
  • If you're looking for an emotional book with very human characters
  • If you're looking for a good verse novel

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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